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The Great Workforce Exodus: What does healthcare have to do with it?

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

The Great Resignation hit us like a ton of bricks last year which is now starting to affect perspectives towards entering healthcare and nursing…

The truth is, we’re living in an era where our healthcare system is under extreme pressure and there won’t be a final article to explain this. What we’ve been seeing and continue to see is the stats, the grim realities of a healthcare system beyond the brink of collapse.

In the first week of the year, a leading palliative care charity announced that a record number of people are dying at home from cancer in Scotland - rising by 39% in the four years prior to the pandemic.

It leads us to a place where the call for health and social care workers is at an all-time high. In October this year, vacancies in social care in particular jumped to more than 52%.

If there was ever a time to make a difference, that time is now.

Starting from scratch

University Students are well into their second semesters by now and on top of excessive alcohol and nights out until 6am, most have an idea of what their futures will look like.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for nursing students. Considering the uncertainty that students experience from applying to university, after NHS exposure during the pandemic, it goes without saying why in healthcare there are considerably fewer applications coming in.

Pile that on top of a global pandemic, climate crises and worsening public health and it makes sense why over the past year admissions remarked an 8% in dip student nursing degrees.

As of late, the NHS hasn’t had the easiest ride. The lack of funding and support might then foreshadow the struggles they will face as students. Social media has been a platform for nurses to share their experiences and surprise surprise - it’s not all positive content.

Not to mention with what little content the nursing community posts, it isn't the most positive reflection of the industry.

But it’s not just a matter of a rebrand that will get students to choose to pursue nursing as a career. Students knowingly enter into a system that requires such knowledge, time and mental and physical energy…and will empty their wallets for the foreseeable future.

With financial pressures at play, taking on more debt during a cost-of-living crisis is out of the question.

Finding Inspiration

When we think back to our younger selves, we tend to forget why we were inspired to follow our chosen path in the first place. When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, it can be difficult to see the light out of the end of the tunnel.

Working in healthcare means connecting with people who are doing their job, for others but also bringing their own unique experiences forward to provide care and comfort in trying times.

Above all, it can be the most inspiring and rewarding career on the table. So how can we show our future nurses if this is the path for them?

Sussex and Surrey Hospital Trust are taking methods into their own hands by leading workshops for students keen to take up NHS careers, and offering behind-the-scenes access to a real working hospital.

But ultimately, nurses who are fulfilled and enthusiastic about their work are far more likely to inspire than someone overworked and exhausted.

Perhaps the future of healthcare rests in inspiring a generation to lead, people first.

We have a long way to go, but encouraging others to pursue a fulfilling career in nursing starts with ensuring our current nurses receive the support they need.

Wondering whether you could take on a new role? With a whole host of roles across different locations, we’re 100% certain you can!


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